How New Order based Blue Monday on classic sci-fi
13 April 2020, 15:30 | Updated: 5 March 2021, 17:17
The classic Manchester tune has a title that is unrelated to the lyrics - so what does it mean exactly?
Released three years after the death of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, Blue Monday was influenced by the flood of new music technology and a lot of time spent sampling the early 80s nightlife of New York.
Featured a jackhammer drum machine beat and octave-leaping bassline, the record was a huge hit in clubs across Europe that summer, prompting people to buy it in their droves when they returned home.
Behind the shimmering, cutting-edge sound Bernard Sumner’s vocal is a dour reminder of the band’s Manchester roots: “How does it feel / To treat me like you do?”
The title “Blue Monday” doesn’t appear anywhere in the lyric, so where did it come from?
It was inspired by a book that New Order drummer Stephen Morris was reading at the time: Breakfast Of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday by the noted science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut. It’s post-modern satire on society and was published in 1973.
Keyboard player Gillian Gilbert told The Guardian in 2013: “It's a reference to the invention of the washing machine, which improved housewives' lives.”
One of the illustrations in the book interprets the banishing of the washday blues is given a more extreme solution.
But that's just the start of Blue Monday's mysteries... while the music has its own inspirations and influences, what about that iconic cover?